2010: Two Dozen U.S. Bishops Could Retire

Up to 24 U.S. bishops, including two cardinals, could retire in 2010. There are 11 active U.S. bishops, including one cardinal, who have already turned 75. Thirteen more will celebrate their 75th birthday in 2010. At age 75 bishops are requested to submit their resignation to the pope. Turning 75 on April 19 this year is Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, where he has served since 2003. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals that same year. Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, has often asked cardinals to stay on the job after age 75. Even when a cardinal retires in his 70s, he remains an active member of the College of Cardinals, eligible to enter a conclave and vote for a new pope, until age 80. Cardinal Bernard F. Law, for example, turned 75 on Nov. 4, 2006 and still serves on the Congregation for Bishops. Cardinal Law was archbishop of Boston from 1984 until his resignation in 2002 because of his handling of cases of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

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